Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Power Of A True Friend

2 Samuel 13:1 - 3 (NLT) 1Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. 2Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her. 3But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea.

It is unlikely that I would ever have a blog entry with such a lurid account of someone’s private life, were it not for the fact that these details are enumerated in the Bible.

The story of Amnon reveals to all of us the influence of a “false friend.” If you take time to read the rest of the story (2 Samuel 13), you will discover the tragic consequences that unfolded in the life of Amnon. His demise can be attributed to the treachery of Jonadab whom Amnon evidently considered a true friend.

When it comes to finding a true friend, many people value secrecy over honesty. The coworker that you confide in regarding your ongoing affair with another man’s wife must be your true friend. The classmate that would never tell your parents about your addiction to pornography must be your true friend. After all they keep your secrets. In some cases they provide the “therapy” that helps you survive the lie you are living.

How can a true friend not value what is true? How can a true friend’s love for you be trusted, if their lack of integrity undermines the nature of true love?

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 6 (KJV) 4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Your buddy that helps you justify your ungodly fantasies is not your true friend.
Your partner that “talks trash” about purity and morality is not your true friend.

Your soul mate that undermines your appreciation for what is right before God is not your true friend. That one that influences you to hate the truth you use to love, that person is not a true friend.

Jesus went to Calvary to prove that he is a true friend to sinners. But in accepting his sacrifice for our sins we are forced to acknowledge our sins. What kind of true friend would not allow us to hide our sins? What kind of true friend would not join us in excusing our sins?

Perhaps the kind of TRUE FRIEND that would die for our sins; the kind of true friend that now lives to give us His Holy Ghost power to overcome our sins.

John 15:13 - 14 (KJV) 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Thanks To Pastor Darrell Johns

Psalms 90:12 (KJV) 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Pastor Darrell Johns has a strong background in youth and family ministry. Clear and understandable biblical teaching is a hallmark of his ministry. His ministerial background includes 17 years in youth and family ministry, and leadership training.

He served as a pastoral staff member at the First Pentecostal Church in Jackson, Mississippi from 1978 - 1988. During this time, he also served as a Bible college instructor and from 1986 - 1988, as Administrator of Jackson College of Ministries. Many readers of this blog will remember his years of excellent service to the General Youth Division of the United Pentecostal Church International, including his tenure as the General Youth President.

Since September of 1995 he has served as Pastor of the Atlanta West Pentecostal Church ( in Lithia Springs, Georgia. Apart from all the accolades that I could mention regarding his revival church and his contribution to the work of God around the world, there is one thing that stands out in my memory when I consider my gratitude for his impact on my life:

Pastor Johns has always had time…
to encourage and inspire others (including me). I can recall numerous occasions when he took the time to “speak into my life” with insight that always provoked me to pursue excellence in my service to Jesus Christ.

At some point in the early 1990’s Pastor Johns recommended that I read “Ordering Your Private World”, by Gordon MacDonald. Ironically one of the subjects that is handled masterfully by MacDonald in this book is time management. Please forgive me Pastor Johns; just this week I found the time to read this book. You were right as usual, what an awesome and insightful reading.

My delay in responding to the aforementioned recommendation was not due to disregard for the wisdom and instruction that I have grown to cherish from my dear friend. In fact on numerous occasions I have purchased this book for others I wanted to impact in a positive manner.

Almost twenty years have come and gone and my recent reading has revealed one of the greatest qualities that I have observed often in Rev. Darrell Johns: He has succeeded in making the most of the minutes, hours and days that have past since he first started influencing my life. Today I am especially inspired by his example and I wanted him and YOU to know it.

Recently I ran into Rev. Darrell Johns in the lobby of the Hampton Inn on Dunn Road in Hazelwood, Missouri. After a brief discussion with Pastor Johns, I was NOT surprised in the least that he was up late (as usual) redeeming the time. He was helping his youngest son Justin with a College paper that was soon due.

After my own “overdue assignment” and after observing the life of Darrell Johns through the years, I am reminded that greatness doesn’t happen by accident. Great men, great families, and great churches are intentional. They are testament to the passionate pursuit of godly priorities. Similar to the priorities I have read about, not just in books, but in the lives of people like Darrell Johns.

Ephesians 5:15 - 17 (KJV) 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Miss The One I Love

Romans 5:8(KJV) 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God is love! That ought to frost your flakes; that ought to honk your horn; that ought to butter your bread; that ought to mow your lawn… God is LOVE! It just doesn’t get any better than that.

John 3:16 (KJV) 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Recently I have thought to compare the love God has for the world with the love God has for His church. I have concluded that God is love. No matter what - God loves me, God loves you, God loves everyone. However, there is something about God’s love for His church that is noteworthy.

Ephesians 5:25, 31-32 (KJV) 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

I have been traveling in Scotland and I’ve been away from my family and friends for about one week. I cannot wait to see my loved-ones. However, my desire to see my wife surpasses my affection for any other person that I am missing while I am away.

Perhaps there is something about the relationship that Jesus has with His bride (the church) that is significant. It’s not that God loves the world less than He loves His church. It’s just that those that have become a part of His church (His Bride) enjoy a sacred connection with Him.

1 John 2:15 (KJV) 15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

How does God’s love for the Church compare with God’s love for the world? It is not the amount of love God gives; it is the amount of love we are able to receive.

I miss the one I love and it’s only been one week. How long has Jesus been missing you?

1 John 3:1(KJV) 1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Visit With John Knox

James 5:16 (KJV) 16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

This week I have the privilege of visiting the students at Harvest Bible College in Glasgow, Scotland ( I am so grateful for the wonderful hospitality of President Robert Kelley and all of the staff and students here at the college. It is obvious that this college is strategically equipped to prepare men and women for the revival that is promised for our generation. The personnel that are instrumental in making this college such a success should be commended for their intense vision. The exceptional student body is poised to be a great blessing to the harvest field in Europe and the regions beyond.

Not far from Glasgow, in Edinburgh, Scotland is a tourist site known as the John Knox house. John Knox (1505-1572) is remembered by many as the leader of the Scottish Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church. He is thought to have died in the house in 1572.

In the winter of 1834, the great revivalist Charles Finney spoke about John Knox in his Lectures On Revival. Here is what he had to say:

John Knox was a man famous for his power in prayer, so that bloody Queen Mary used to say she feared his prayers more than all the armies of Europe. And events showed that she had reason to do it. He used to be in such an agony for the deliverance of his country that he could not sleep.

He had a place in his garden where he used to go to pray. One night he and several friends were praying together, and as they prayed, Knox spoke and said that deliverance had come. He could not tell what had happened, but he felt that something had taken place, for God had heard their prayers. What was it? Why the next news they had was, that Mary was dead!

I don’t know a lot about John Knox. However, I am admittedly intrigued by a man that could pray with such persistence and passion for a country in need of deliverance. Many who read this blog entry live in countries that are desperate for a demonstration of the power of God. May we all summon the courage and the conviction to pray with the kind of effectual fervency that will usher in the next “Great Awakening.” Indeed every urban jungle and every country village across this planet is ripe for the revelation of the name of Jesus Christ, and the redemptive power of His cross.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) 14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This Is Our Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV) 1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

This morning I received this startling email in BIG, BOLD, COLORFUL PRINT:

04:05:06 07-08-09


It reminds me of the numbing effect of the steady march of time through our lives. It is so easy to be lulled to sleep by the sense that the way things are is the way they will always be; over and over, and over; tic tock, tic tock, ad nauseam.

Meanwhile something can happen in the midst of the monotony that is unprecedented in our generation. Something already scheduled on God’s Day-timer; something that may not happen again for a long, long time.

Not far from where I live in North Carolina, a divine appointment took place in August of 1801. William Whitaker writes about it in the historical record entitled, “Centennial History of Alamance County”. Here is a brief excerpt:

A large crowd of people gathered at Cross Roads on an August Sunday in 1801 for the annual communion services, and since the village could not accommodate all of them, a number of families camped in their wagons. It was a warm day, and they sat restlessly while Reverend Paisley and a number of other ministers preached to them. As the meeting drew to an end with little sign of success, the country preacher rose to dismiss the congregation, but he could find no words to say to them.

Just at that moment, however, a member of the congregation rose slowly from his seat, and a profound silence descended over the meeting. His voice was simple and quiet. "Stand still!" he said. "Stand still-and see the salvation of God!" A wave of emotion swept over the people like an electric shock. Many sprang from their seats, and sobs and moans rose from every part of the little church. A miracle had been wrought. The excitement continued for the rest of the day. The congregation sang and prayed and gave thanks for the new spirit which had suddenly come to them. It was midnight before they finally departed for their homes.

A month later, Reverend Paisley held a service at Hawfields, and hundreds came to hear him preach. For five days the services continued, and the effect has seldomly been equalled. A current of religious fervor spread throughout the State. Through some tremendous miracle, the little church at Cross Roads had shaken the great world beyond it.

God has a purpose for our time.

Something is about to happen in our time that will be absolutely startling. A fervor for Jesus Christ will be ignited that will literally blaze a fire of Apostolic revival around the world. Thousands, even hundreds of thousands will seek to be baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost, as evidenced by speaking with other tongues.

This is our time to pray and prepare for God’s purpose for our time.

Acts 2:17 - 18 (KJV) 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Son, the Sun Jumper

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Zora Neale Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature. Hurston was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance (1920’s – 1930’s). She lived in the Early 1900’s. She said this about her mom:

Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity - to 'jump at de sun.'
We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground."

There is something about being truly loved that motivates us to reach for great heights in this life. I know I have been surrounded by many (my mom, my pastor, my brother, my wife, my church family and several close friends) that have always encouraged me to try harder and climb higher. They have never ridiculed me for falling short, but they have always inspired me to “get off the ground.”

Today my son Harrison is 2 years old. I pray sincerely that I will always motivate him to “jump at de sun.” Actually my greatest desire is that he would grow to “jump at THE SON.” If I can inspire him to reach up to Jesus in EVERYTHING he becomes then he will be greatly blessed, even though there will be occasional falls.

I honor Jesus Christ today. He has always given me mercy to get up when I fall down; He has always given me hope to reach higher everyday. With His love we all can leap through life.

Makes me want to PARTY with my favorite 2 year old.

Happy Birthday my son.

Proverbs 23:24-25 24The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. 25Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Runaway Rabbits

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Margaret Wise Brown wrote a children’s book entitled, “The Runaway Bunny”. It describes a mother’s persistent and ever-pursuing love towards her child. It is a story about a bunny who wanted to run away from his mother. Here are some excerpts from the story:

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So he said to his mother, “I am running away.” “If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”

“If you run after me,” said the little bunny, “I will become a fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you.” “If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother, “I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”...

…“If you become a little boy and run into a house,” said the mother bunny, “I will become your mother and catch you in my arms and hug you.” “Shucks,” said the bunny, “I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”

And so he did. “Have a carrot,” said the mother bunny.

Moms are famous for “keeping after” their children. My mom never hesitated to “show me the way more perfectly.” Sometimes it took a belt or a paddle, but she was determined not to let me slip away in the wrong direction. I am sure there were times I wanted to run away. Probably some times I misunderstood her insistence that I obey. But looking back, I am sure it was love that made it her mission to keep me on the right road.

Nobody loves us like Jesus. In love He calls us to keep His commandments. Nothing brings Him greater joy than to know that His children walk in truth. The reality is - nothing brings us greater joy than walking in obedience to his word.

When we stray, His grace and mercy prompts us to experience conviction when we have wandered from His will. It’s not His disdain, but His devotion that causes Him to reach for us when we are tempted to run away.

When humanity had run away, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” He stretched out His arms on the Cross to welcome us back to Him. Daily He wants to take us by the hand and lead us through this life, celebrating the joy that comes from trusting and obeying Him.

John 15:10 - 11 (KJV) 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Unrelenting Love

Isaiah 49:15 (NLT) 15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!

The love of a mom (especially mine) seems so unstoppable, so unwavering… so unrelenting.

Helen Steiner Rice wrote a well know poem about momma’s unrelenting love. I include the first four lines in this blog entry as a tribute to all moms everywhere, especially mine.

A Mother's Love

A Mother's love is something that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it or take that love away . . .

When God searched for a way to reveal to His children His unrelenting love, He compared His love for Zion with a mother’s love for her child. Not only does this reveal the high regard that God has for moms, it also indicates His unswerving, unmerited… unrelenting love for you and I.

It can never be overstated: “Jesus LOVES you!”

You can do nothing to make Him love you more. You can do nothing to make Him love you less. Jesus loves you with unrelenting love.

I am on a mission this Mother’s Day to get a message to somebody somewhere. God’s love for you is unrelenting love. You may have “a face only a mother could love”, or you may think even your own mom couldn’t still love you; but JESUS LOVES YOU no matter what! He loves you with unrelenting love.

Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall, A mother's secret hope outlives them all.” His words denote the high regard that many of us have for our mom’s and their unrelenting love.

However, sometimes Mom’s love is not enough. Although scriptures celebrate the strength of human love, many passages underscore the weakness of human love. Sometimes we need a love that surpasses the unmitigated love of mom. We need God’s unconditional, unbridled… unrelenting love.

Rom 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine… 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 …shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Introducing Aslam Malik

3 John 1:5 - 6 (NLT) 5Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God.

Aslam Malik went to Canada in 1992 from Pakistan. Both he and his wife Toy, from Oshawa Ontario, are Bible College graduates of Apostolic Missionary Institute. In 2005- 2006 the Malik’s served a one year AIM assignment in Sri Lanka under missionary Prince Mathiasz.

While in Sri Lanka, they were involved in many aspects of missionary work. They were active in preaching, teaching in the Bible school, Sunday school, office work, teaching computer skills and English. Aslam and Toy were also involved in the Tsunami disaster relief, outreach, home Bible studies, house prayer meetings, counseling, youth and evangelism. Thirty-seven people were baptized during their brief and busy stay in Sri Lanka.

The Malik’s were appointed missionaries of the United Pentecostal Church International to Pakistan in September 2007. They are excited about the future God has for them in the land of their calling. They seek to remain active in Bible College ministry as well as teaching, evangelizing and working with other missionaries serving in that region.

Recently I was able to enjoy a visit with The Malik Family as they traveled through North Carolina seeking to gain prayer and financial support for their efforts in Pakistan. I was deeply moved by their passion to be a blessing to a nation that is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Aslam and Toy have two wonderful children. Isaiah is 9 and Tiara is 6 years old. They both are very friendly and it was delightful to spend time with them. They share their parent’s love for Pakistan and are eager to leave the comforts and safety of North America, for the uncertainty and unrest that often characterizes the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

During their quick trip through North Carolina the Malik Family was greatly blessed by twenty pastors and churches that joined them as Partners in Missions for Pakistan. I honor the great fellowship of the North Carolina District of the United Pentecostal Church International, whose vision extends beyond our borders and reaches around the world.

I give honor to Aslam and Toy Malik for their service and sacrifice for the kingdom of God. While in North Carolina they ministered in several churches and saw a number of people filled with the Holy Ghost and baptized in Jesus Name. They also received word from a local pastor of at least one notable miracle that took place during one of their services. We appreciate their ministry throughout North America as they travel and promote missions. Above all, we are grateful for their sincere desire to be a blessing to the 172 million people of Pakistan.

3 John 1:7 - 8 (NLT) 7For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

One Partner In Missions of $50 per month will help reach approximately 15 individuals per month in Pakistan. If you would like more information about Missions, or if you would like to partner with the Malik family, please visit